You can help prevent pneumonia by practising good hygiene to stop germs spreading.
when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue to catch the germs.
Throw used tissues away immediately, in a bin or toilet – germs can live for several hours after they leave your nose or mouth.
Wash your hands regularly, to avoid transferring germs to other people or objects.
Read more about preventing the spread of flu.
To help protect against pneumonia, people in higher risk groups should be vaccinated. The recommended vaccinations are:
the pneumonia jab (pneumococcal vaccination), which protects against pneumococcal infections.
the flu jab.
Read more information on our vaccination planner.
Smoking, alcohol misuse and intravenous drug abuse can increase your risk of developing pneumonia.
Smoking damages your lungs, which means they become infected more easily.
If you smoke, the best thing you can do to prevent pneumonia is to quit smoking.
To help you quit, the NHS Smoking Helpline offers advice and support. For more information, visit the NHS Smokefree website.
Your GP or pharmacist can also give help and advice on how to quit smoking.
Excessive and prolonged alcohol misuse is known to weaken your lungs' natural defences against infections, making you more vulnerable to pneumonia.
One study found that 45% of people admitted to hospital with pneumonia had an alcohol problem. Alcohol misuse is defined as regularly drinking over the recommended weekly limits (21 units of alcohol for men and 14 units for women).
Not only does alcohol misuse increase your risk of developing pneumonia, it also increases your risk of it being more serious. It is estimated that people who misuse alcohol are three to seven times more likely to die from pneumonia than the general population.
If you drink alcohol, do not exceed recommended daily limits (three to four units a day for men and two to three units a day for women).
Talk to your GP if you are finding it difficult to moderate your drinking. Counselling services and medication are available to help you reduce your alcohol intake.